frontpage hit counter

The Stoop

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Oct-15-2003

When the children and I stepped out of the house this morning, we couldn’t help but notice that our stoop was surrounded by a good dozen of those orange and white traffic cones. Looking to our left, we could see that all of the bricks there had been reset and looking to our right, we saw the man who resets and maintains all of the brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets in town pulling out the bricks on that side of the door. I said good morning to him, noticing that he had a new earring , and took our bevy of rather bewildered children off to school.

It’s like that in our town : I never know when I look out of a window ( for the large tree in our yard belongs to the city, as well as a small portion of the wall which surrounds our garden) or step out of the door, if some hulking- but pleasant- stranger will be there. And our stoop belongs to the town as well.

At least three times a year, a bit of a screed will appear in our local paper, telling those of us with stoops that we must not place potted plants or wooden benches on our stoops. It pollutes the view, we are told, and- we are reminded- the stoops belong to the city, they are not a part of our property.

And that is just fine with me. In ticking off the division of duties within our household, The Father and I have butted our heads a few times. One unresolved allocation of labor is who polishes the children’s shoes : in my family, my father always did it, in The Fathers family his mother always did it. Our children have remarkably scruffy shoes.

Another point of contention was the stoop :The Fatherr felt that I should thoroughly clean it once a week- but never on Sunday. I could never quite bring myself to take the stiff-bristled broom out of it’s webby shroud and sweep off the stoop every week. Or weed it, unless there was a danger of fatal injuries.

And so the city’s screeds came to my rescue : you know Father, it’s not our stoop, it belongs to the city, let them maintain it. And sure enough, once I began neglecting our stoop, the city stepped in and began tending it. They come by with a blow torch 2, 3 times a year and fry off the weeds, the man in the little yellow truck tidies up the bits of refuse the tourists and their dogs leave and in short, the city maintains their stoop very well.

I don’t mind not being able to place potted plants or rustic benches on the stoop at all. But it is nearly 10, and I suppose I should bring him a cup of coffee.

It’s that sort of town.

  1. Karen Said,

    Forgive my ignorance, Sue: what is a stoop? Can we have a picture?

  2. sue Said,

    Sorry, Karen. It’s one of those words that means the same thing in American English.

    From an online dictionary :

    a porch, platform, entrance stairway, or small veranda at a house door ….Etymology: Dutch stoep; akin to Old English stæpe step

  3. Karen Said,

    Oh, I’m sure it means the same in european-english. I’m just ignorant of these long architectural terms.

  4. i Said,

    Wow, I’m just amazed that there’s a man who resets and maintains all the brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets in your town. Sounds like that kingdom on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to me.

  5. Ann Said,

    Maybe you and Han don’t include stoop-tending in your job descriptions, but someone in your family does a bang-up job with window boxes… they are absolutely beautiful! What is the flower if I may ask – a variety of trailing geranium? Love the peach colored paint too.

  6. sue Said,

    hi Ann- here we call the plants Austrian Geraniums, but I think in ‘English’ they are called Ivy Geraniums. They are getting a bit spindly now, as I’m letting they dry out, but I do like them as well.

    In fact, we have red, Austrian Geraniums on our house every year !

    Oh..thanks !

  7. sue Said,

    i, it’s actually pretty simple : the town decided that it was cheaper to have one guy working full-time then to keep having companies coming in to do ( for example) quarterly maintenance.

    It’s a tourist town, so looks are important, plus, because of that we get an outrageous amount of traffic for such a small place-

  8. Gordon Said,

    Hi, popped over from Uborka and (as I’m currently in mission mode), have a tiny thing to point out.

    You might want to add a background color of white to your page…. sorry hate to criticise, but I have a lot of grey showing up… ohh I explained it all on Monday… honest…

  9. Catherine Said,

    Would the city step in and polish those shoes 2 or three times a year do you think?

    Oh do come to London – there’s a big curry here with your name on it!

    Here’s a question of chocoletiquette: No Leonidas, he bought Daskalidas instead. What does this mean, and what is the appropriate response? Thank him very much, or make him pack his bags?

  10. sue Said,

    Hmmmm, a difficult one. I suggest a taste test first…

    How is he feeling ? Any better ?

  11. Catherine Said,

    Good advice – and I don’t want to rush to judgement, so I’ll take a decision when I’ve tasted them all.

    Kevin’s better, thanks – he’s still coughing, but no longer in pain (goodbye ‘pleurisy’). He’s off for a chest x-ray tomorrow, which will hopefully give him the all clear and put everyone’s minds at rest.

Add A Comment